Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Salvation 101, 4of6

~ There Are Only Two Ways To Pay For Your Sins! ~

Point number one is that everyone is a sinner.  The second reality is that no one is capable of saving themselves.  Third, we saw that all sin has a penalty.  This brings us to fourth important fact. 

The Basic Reality  ~  The law (any law) requires payment/restitution for an offense.  When a law is broken and the offender is known there is a payment due.  If one goes to court and is fined $500 for an offense they must pay the fine, work out a payment schedule, or make some other arrangement.  The same is true regarding our relationship with the Creator of the universe.  The Old Testament is very clear, “When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness [option 1] and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die” (Ezekiel 33:13).  “Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are.  And when I see the blood, I will pass over you [option 2]; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).  In the New Testament we read, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die [option 1]; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God [option 2]” (Romans 8:13-14).

“But I Have No Means of Paying!”  ~  The law demands justice.  The payment is due and you have two choices.  You could pay for your offense [option 1] or if you were fortunate enough to have a rich and willing relative or friend they could make your payment on your behalf [option 2]. 

The Fourth Point About Salvation  ~  God’s justice requires payment for sin—including your sin.  In God’s holiness the only acceptable payment for sin against God (all sin is ultimately against God) is death to the sinner.  Fortunately God in His great compassion and mercy has provided a substitute payment for our sin.  The only acceptable solution was the death of the only perfect person to ever live on this earth—His Son, Jesus Christ (who is potentially your Savior).  He has already made payment for your sin—but you must accept the terms of that payment in order for the penalty of your sin to be “paid in full.”  “For the wages of sin is death [option 1], but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord [option 2]” (Romans 6:23).  Like any other gift it is not the recipients until it is given to and received by the intended recipient.  “There is salvation in no other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  The reason Jesus Christ is the only way is that He is the only person to ever have lived a perfect sinless life on earth.

Additional Scripture  ~  No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man.  In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up — and everyone who looks up to Him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.  This is how much God loved the world: He gave His Son, His One and only Son.  And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.  God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was.  He came to help, to put the world right again.  Anyone who trusts in Him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust Him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it.  And why?  Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to Him.  This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness.  They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God.  Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure.  But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is” (John 3:13-21, The Message).
Christ arrives right on time to make this happen.  He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready.  He presented Himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready.  And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway.  We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice.  But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to Him” (Romans 5:6-8, The Message).

The Bottom Line  ~    God’s holiness and justice demands payment for sin.  His mercy and love provided an alternative payment for your sin.  Jesus Christ suffered and paid the penalty for you sin, “the just for the unjust, that He might bring us [you] to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).  You have a choice to make—no choice is a choice!  “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).  

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

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